Armed with keyboards and processors, Ohio’s newest security force may one day deploy not to deal with natural disasters, but rather network disasters. Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio’s adjutant general, said that under the direction of Gov. John Kasich, he started the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee to determine what Ohio needs to do to improve cybersecurity and training. Part of those efforts, he said, is to create an Ohio Cyber Reserve Force, a team of civilian information-technology experts that could be activated by the governor, working for the Ohio National Guard, to respond to major cyberattacks against state or local infrastructures. “If there is a major incident within the state then the governor could call them out and put them on state active duty, just like we do with the National Guard,” Bartman said.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Ohio: Republican officials lose bid to dismiss gerrymandering suit over congressional map | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Three federal judges have rejected a request by Republican elected leaders in Ohio to dismiss a lawsuit that says the judges should toss out the state’s congressional district map because it’s gerrymandered. Judges Karen Nelson Moore, Timothy Black and Michael Watson ruled Wednesday that the constitutional violations the group challenging Ohio’s map allege are still germane despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue from earlier this year.
A three-judge panel on Wednesday declined to throw out a gerrymandering lawsuit against Republican officials in Ohio, finding that a group of Democratic voters established legal standing to bring the challenge. In May, a coalition of Democratic voters and groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, sued Governor John Kasich and other Republican lawmakers in Cincinnati federal court. They urged the court to enjoin a 2011 redistricting statute that the GOP used to redraw maps, arguing it gave an unfair advantage to Republicans at the expense of Democratic voters. Republicans would win 12 congressional districts and Democrats four districts, even as the statewide share of the vote for each party shifted over three congressional elections between 2013 and 2016.
A new generation of voting machines may soon be on the way thanks to a bill signed by Gov. John Kasich, which will allow $114.5 million to be distributed among Ohio’s 88 counties. “New” generation, however, may mean taking a step back in time. Voters in 41 counties, including Butler, Montgomery and Greene, have been using direct-recording electronic voting machines, or DREs, which requires the use of a touchscreen. But now, more counties are considering using paper ballots, as no DRE machine is currently certified for use in Ohio. That leaves many counties looking at a switch to paper ballots and optical-scanning equipment to count ballots, or hybrid systems coming at more than twice the price that employ touchscreens to mark a paper ballot. “I know people think that’s going backwards,” Butler County Board of Elections Director Diane Noonan said. “But you have to look at these machines and understand that paper is not what they think it is.” Warren, Preble and Clark counties already use paper ballots.
Ohio: Franklin County finds hundreds of uncounted votes in already too-close-to-call special election | The Hill
Ohio election officials on Wednesday found 588 previously uncounted votes in its hotly contested special election for the state’s 12th Congressional District. Officials found the votes in a Columbus suburb, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, netting Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor 190 more votes and narrowing his race against Republican Troy Balderson to 1,564 votes. “The votes from a portion of one voting location had not been processed into the tabulation system,” the Franklin County Board of Elections said in a news release obtained by the paper. Balderson, who was backed by President Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) during his campaign, claimed a narrow victory on Tuesday night for the district which Trump won and which has been held by a Republican since 1983.
The “missing ballots” in Ohio’s special election have caused a stir – but analysts said they really aren’t a mystery and often pop up in elections across the country. Under the rush of election nights, voting precinct officials nationwide often misplace ballots or send them to the wrong office. And those ballots are just as often discovered via audits or recounts, analysts said. “It’s not unusual,” said Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21, a watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C. “It’s one of the reasons people do recounts in close races.” Post-election audits also yield uncounted votes, as happened this week in the special election for Ohio’s 12th congressional district.
County election boards across Ohio are preparing to buy a new generation of voting machines, and although it’s unclear what systems will be chosen, it’s becoming more likely that tens of thousands of voters in southwest Ohio will fill out paper ballots rather than voting on touchscreens as soon as the May election. “It could be a departure for the polling locations,” said Jan Kelly, Montgomery County Board of Elections director. “They really aren’t like what we have now.” Voters in Montgomery County along with those in Butler, Darke, Greene and Miami counties and 36 others, currently use DRE machines, or direct-recording electronic voting machines that have touchscreens. But as election officials work now to get new systems online and proven before the 2020 presidential election, no DRE machine has been certified for use in Ohio, according to officials.
Ohioans who have been purged from state voting rolls since 2011 will be allowed to cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s special U.S. House election between Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor. Secretary of State Jon Husted instructed county boards of elections on Tuesday to accept the ballots of those purged for failing to vote during a six-year span and failing to respond to notices asking them to verify their status. Their votes will be counted after the election once their purging from voting rolls and other information is confirmed. Husted’s office could not estimate how many purged voters could cast ballots on Tuesday. The directive was the result of a federal court order following mediation with plaintiffs and after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in their suit, according to Husted’s memo to county election officials. The plaintiffs reversed course after an earlier agreement and asked that those purged be allowed to vote on Aug. 7. The court agreed.
Ohio: Voter purge process restarted with changes to help prevent unnecessary cancellations | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Ohio will restart its controversial voter purge process in the coming weeks, with a few changes to help prevent eligible voters from being removed from the rolls. No voter registrations will be canceled before this November’s mid-term election because federal law bars cancellations within 90 days of an election, and a special election will be held in August for Pat Tiberi’s congressional seat. But county boards of election can begin identifying voters who have not voted in the past two years and mailing them a “confirmation notice,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted advised elections officials in a new directive. Notices must be mailed by Aug. 6. Voters then have four years to return the notice, update their registration address or vote. If they don’t, they will be assumed to have moved out of state or died and their registrations will be canceled.
An Ohio Senate bill giving the secretary of state the authority to request up to $114.5 million in state funds for the individual counties to upgrade to the next generation of voting equipment only waits on Governor John Kasich’s signature to become law. The timing of the funds is advanced enough to allow counties the chance to have personnel trained and the bugs worked before the 2020 presidential election. Senate Bill 135, sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), received concurrence Wednesday from the Senate after passing the House Thursday, June 7 with a vote of 87-0. The bill was co-sponsored by both Delaware County representatives Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Township (68th District) and Andrew Brenner, R-Powell (67th District).